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Google Wave Reviewed 365

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-the-skinny dept.
Michael_Curator writes "Developers are finally getting their hands on the developer preview of Google's Wave, which means we can finally get some first-hand accounts of what it's really like to use, unfiltered by Google's own programmers. Ben Rometsch, a developer with U.K. Web development firm Solid State, blogged that, it's 'probably the most advanced application in a browser that I've seen.' Wave is like giant Web page onto which users can drag and drop any kind of object, including instant messaging and IRC [Internet Relay Client] clients, e-mail, and wikis, as well as gadgets like maps and video. All conversations, work product and applications are stored on remote servers — presumably forever. 'It's like real time email. On crack,' he wrote. And unlike the typically minimalist Google UI, 'It feels a lot more like a desktop application that just so happens to live in your browser.'" User molex333 has already written a Slashdot app and shares his initial reactions here.
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Google Wave Reviewed

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  • by popo (107611) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:49PM (#28790153) Homepage

    Does the expression "on crack" mean, "better"? And if so, why?

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:02PM (#28790237)

    They've said they're going to open-source the server so others can host their own waves. Until then, since I'd want to use this for collaborative development, and possibly for hosting my own sites, I'd rather not they own my content.

  • Ads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rodrigovr (1396497) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:15PM (#28790325)
    Will Wave have ads? Perhaps compulsory ones?
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:28PM (#28790391) Homepage

    Google is probably one of the most if not the most innovative companies in the world, I wouldn't be surprised if they have just created the next generation of communication!

    Are you kidding? Again, Google has cobbled together existing technology and instead of learning the lesson that SMTP taught US 25 years ago Google is content to have something else that will live in beta for years. Why create new technology when you can duct tape existing things together?


    While I'm teetering on the brink of ranting, so Google is releasing an OS, while they continue to overload the web browser with javascript and flash in an effort to turn it into an operating system. Again, we've already done this. We have these tools already. It's called a Native Application. Write some C for christ sake, or hell, even a Java SE app. Maybe some QT/OpenGL? Writing all these applications for the browser is putting a square peg in a round hole.

    I want my flying cars. I was promised flying cars......

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:35PM (#28790439) Homepage

    > Write some C for christ sake, or hell, even a Java SE app.

    How is that going to get them more eyeballs to sell to their advertisers?

  • by teknopurge (199509) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:36PM (#28790445) Homepage

    No. Sharepoint is a marketing term covering a disparate range of collaborative applications from Microsoft. Similar to how the .NET label was a marketing label for a bunch of disparate technologies.

    Google Wave is a single innovative new technology on which many collaborative tools are and may be built.

    Do you work for google PR? Sharepoint is a portal server and a webapp framework. Disparate huh?

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RichardDeVries (961583) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:45PM (#28790501) Journal

    Google has cobbled together existing technology

    This is the mother of all 'get off my lawn' arguments. Using existing technology is what brings us most innovations. In fact, using existing technology is what every programmer does.

    ... and instead of learning the lesson that SMTP taught US 25 years ago Google is content to have something else that will live in beta for years.

    SMTP is in beta?
    I've only seen the demovideo and done a bit of reading. The ideas behind wave are innovative, ambitious and pretty well thought through. If wave becomes a success, it will take years before it's massively deployed. It might also take years to fail spectacularly, either through bad development decisions, or just through failing to come up with the killer-app.
    But to bash it now is stupid. Google is doing this the right way. They're following a vision that might be wrong, or might not be what you're looking for. But it will be open-sourced, so you can create your own wave services. And it doesn't have to be inside a browser, as far as I understand it.

  • Re:Great! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:54PM (#28790541) Homepage

    This is the mother of all 'get off my lawn' arguments. Using existing technology is what brings us most innovations. In fact, using existing technology is what every programmer does.

    I'm really not flaming you, but you missed my points almost entirely. Google isn't simply "using" existing technology - they are repackaging existing technologies. Outlook with Groove was doing "Google Wave" 7 years ago, albeit in a win32 app. Google is using the web browser as a proxy for software, essentially trying to get the write-once,run-anywhere grail that java had as a goal.


    A web browser should never, and I mean NEVER, need half a gig of memory to view my open tabs - but FF 3.5 does frequently because of all the JS that it's running. It's one thing to evolve a technology(Web, html, other 2.0 synonyms), quite another to bastardize it into a swiss army knife.

  • Mod me paranoid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot&warriors-shade,net> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:12PM (#28790661)

    But between this and Google OS and everything else, google is getting dangerously capable of mass information collection for nefarious purposes (read: more than is currently possible). Ive been willing enough to forgive the search engine because of its usefulness, but I see Google as the biggest potential data mining operation in the world. Have an OS, web search, email, chat, and voice all have the central management of one company who for all we know could have been served on of those secret orders they cant even talk about that all data mussed be passed on to some crazy orwellian agency. Not saying its true, but it makes you wonder...now I'm off to finish building my patented alaskan off-the-grid living structure called an igloo.

  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:13PM (#28790665) Journal

    Most likely, this is an attempt at a linguistic intensification of the idiom "on steroids." There was a time when steroid use was more of a taboo and to reference it in casual conversation was marginally titillating, but perhaps "on crack" comes closer to attaining that mischievousness today.

    Even though it doesn't really make sense (steroids increase muscle mass, but crack doesn't really increase anything except an extreme imbalance of neurotransmitters) it fits with our general cultural pattern of intensifying language. "Going ape," for instance, was an appropriate term for wild human behavior as apes tend to be associated with wild movements, but "going apeshit," while sounding more intense, doesn't make any semantic sense in that an ape's feces don't exactly move much at all.

  • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:36PM (#28790841) Journal
    It's an open protocol, you can make whatever GUI you want. In the video they were using a terminal client.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:38PM (#28790861)

    "instead of learning the lesson that SMTP taught US 25 years ago " which lesson in particular are they ignoring?

    As for the thick app argument, why do you care? Seriously, if the solution works it works. The toggle switch guys scoffed at the punch card guys, the punch card guys scoffed at the interactive asm editor guys, the asm guys scoffed at the C guys, the C guys scoffed at the Java guys, the Java guys scoff at the Ruby/Python/PHP/JS guys.
    You don't see the trend?

  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:09PM (#28791069) Homepage
    This entire conversation about linguistics and cultural evolution of "street phrases" just goes to show that no one really knows what to say about Wave. We can't test it ourselves yet, and have no idea how useful it'll be in the real world. Even the access they're giving reviewers right now is more of a tech demo.

    For realz, yo!
  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:21PM (#28791155) Homepage
    This isn't a coke vs. pepsi thing. I can run MS excel with 20 megs of ram. Google spreedsheet in firefox takes over 100 megs of ram. An ftp socket and script to upload my excel file somewhere for sharing doesn't account for 80 megs worth of space complexity: 400% more resources than the thick client app! Once more, someone could have a macro in excel that does the uploading with one-click, so grandma can do it, and maybe you'll see 21 megs of ram used. I just don't understand why we aren't see new and DIFFERNT types of software instead of office applications, photo editors, audio editors, 3d games, and anything else you've used before appear on the web, but with Social 3.0!


    I'm all about the right tool for the right job: I don't care who makes it as long as it works well, is reliable and efficient. Google does a lot of things, none particularly well, sans advertising; Wolfram even has better search then they do and I really to hate to say this, but Bing has decent results. (i still default to google search though)
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lena_10326 (1100441) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:23PM (#28791165) Homepage

    You missed the point entirely!! REUSE IS A GOOD THING PROVIDED YOU BUILD ON THE FOUNDATION.

    Now you're talking gibberish. So, HTML, XML, CSS, Javascript are not considered foundational tools? Odd. I would rather you point out their design or implementation flaws (there are many) rather than make obviously untrue silly statements. You can say the foundation is poorly implemented, but you cannot argue that these tools are not foundational.

    Google doesn't reuse ideas or technology to create new things, they just repackage and recycle existing technology. Pagerank was the last innovation they had.

    Uhhh.. Map Reduce? By the way, an automotive store doesn't create new things nor do they innovate yet they're important.

  • by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:33PM (#28791235) Homepage Journal

    I assume that crack has similar effects to other forms of cocaine. That means that it will make people feel energetic and wakeful - it is often taken by people doing jobs that require long hours or constant fast reaction.

    Sounds to me like "on crack" is a very good analogy.

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:47PM (#28791307) Homepage
    That was a good read - thanks for sharing the insight. I honestly didn't look at the POV of google reducing profit margins on its competitor's services, that it offers, in order to squeeze them out. They get a 2for: more customers and fewer competitors. Smart move really.

    I do want to share the fact that I haven't used Wave, you are correct. Based on your description of Wave and what I perceived it to be from reading articles and seeing demos, I am still correct in my analysis. Here is an old writeup of Groove before MS was involved. [vt.edu] MS eventually bought it and well, it is what it is. The point being that all that integration and synchronization you described was done, integrated with MS word and Outlook, 7 years ago.

    Based on your description of Google's strategy I can't help but notice they're trying to pull people away from, in general, a thick-client model. Even PCs, hell even Notebooks, are too thick for the cloud. I can see Google wanting access to light-weight devices: phones, etc. Perhaps call them "Thin" clients? Maybe the could will one day have a way of allocating(sharing) time among all these light-weight devices, giving each just the amount of resources it needs.

    By now you're realized that this time sharing model is a mainframe, just like we had 40 years ago. Please don't misunderstand, I comprehend that things move in waves/cycles - my beef comes from us(the industry) not innovating this time around. When I see people call a design or technology "revolutionary" and I've seen this same feature-set before(I'm only 30) it honest-to-god makes me wonder why there are people that act like this is brand new stuff.
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:01AM (#28791371)

    I'm not sure how bolding makes your point, I didn't say it was a coke vs. pepsi thing I was saying it was a grandpa vs grandson thing.

    It uses 400% more resources, big whoop. 9 iterations of moore's law and that amount of resources is just as negligible as the office client is now, let alone *manageable* which is the important number and where 100mb squarely sits at the moment.
    The *difference* the "magic sauce" is specifically in the automatic collaboration and portability enabled by the server-side nature. Whether it will be revolutionary or not time will tell but claiming it's just the same as before seems to me like sticking your fingers in your ears.

    Wolfram alpha is kind of interesting, I've yet to coax it into answering a question I actually wanted the answer to though, traditional search engines do that for me every day though they do make it seem deceptively simple.

    I'd still like to know what lesson we learnt from SMTP that wave hasn't attempted to address.

  • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:28AM (#28791521)

    Oh quit whining, Ram is cheap, and you are substituting a native app for an existing app. While I don't think Javascript/CSS/HTML apps are the holy grail here are some good things about the apps:

    - Completely sandboxed so you don't have to worry about anything running rampant on your system, especially systems that are inherently single user
    - More portable, it is much easier to tweak your applications to the other main stream browsers and engines than it is generally is to abstract your C/C++ code to accommodate Windows/X/OSX/etc and it also saved a lot of time
    - Like I said RAM is cheap and even on netbooks you will usually have a boatload of ram and like any sort of implementation, it can be abused (See Slashdot heavy handedness of AJAX and javascript utilities)

    I mean with a lot of the javsscript frameworks around like GWT, optimized javascript is a trivial thing.

    I think your sentiments are rooted in your own personal preferences rather than whether the technology is useful or not. As another poster stated, this is open source so it one's usage of it doesn't have to depend on Google. Don't you think that most progressions of technology is made by cobbling together existing tools to make something else useful?

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whoop (194) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:49AM (#28791649) Homepage

    I see your problem, you're using Firefox. That's what's eating your RAM, sir. Google spreadsheet in Chrome: 33MB.

    Running apps from your desktop adds another layer in your file storage. If you leave your desk, you have to bring your files with you to use them.

    It's a trade-off. Desktop apps have their purpose, web apps do as well. Find what suits YOUR needs and use the best choice. No one is forcing you to go one way or another, you are free to keep Excel, Word, etc. Calm down. Breathe.

    There. All is better.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:58AM (#28791687) Homepage

    A web browser should never, and I mean NEVER, need half a gig of memory

    A word processing app should never come on more than one floppy disk.

    Games should not be in 3D.

    Computers do not need sound cards goshdarnit!

    Gah... change!

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lena_10326 (1100441) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:54AM (#28792041) Homepage

    Wave is open source implemented in JS, XML, and HTML5. Not Flash. Secondly, GWT is open source written in Java and Javascript. Why in the world would you expect google's application library (slash Java->Javascript converter) to be "foundational" (as in used by everyone, everywhere)? That word implies something like W3C specification standards. It's a freakin application library. Lastly, writing some core functionality and bundling it into AWT and then REUSING that in a web application doesn't count as code reuse? Wtf. I suspect this is more about hating Google than anything else.

    Still doesn't sound like cobbling together at all. Sounds like solid software design and implementation.

  • by linhares (1241614) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:55AM (#28792051)
    You've emphasized the "nasty" parts of the plan, at least in what concerns microsoft, salesforce, and other major software vendors. I could imagine that this new infrastructure may mess them up a little, or maybe a lot. But the "non-nasty" part is that it will enable a whole new level of collaboration between people, enhancing productivity, and since Google will probably host this for free (at least for gmail users), that means that poorer countries can benefit too, from Mexico, to Brundi, to Chad, to Iceland, to Mississipi.
  • by dch24 (904899) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:29AM (#28792239) Journal
    One thing about the Wave Protocol [google.com] is that all the wavelets (the data) is stored on the server that "owns" the wave. You may log in using your office wave server, but if you join a wave started on a google.com server, they own the wave.

    If you wanted to "fork" the wave, you could copy all the data onto your office server. Also, if I read correctly, there is no way to "revoke" a wave, or delete content for that matter.

    If a DMCA takedown occurs, the entire wave could "disappear" from the parent server, and cached copies would still exist on clients who could then fork and continue. It's a lot like email -- once you hit send, there is no going back.

    One possible business solution involves generating a wave that's "for internal use only" and then forking a public release. When forking (this is definitely not google's terminology), you can copy over all the discussion or just the final product.

    Although PKI (such a GPG keys) would make privacy and revocation lists a little easier, that is not a part of wave. It wouldn't be too hard to add on to it, but javascript doesn't do crypto, as far as I know.
  • Re:Tried it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skreems (598317) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:56AM (#28792361) Homepage
    It seems like Google is content to measure the content of the buzz they generate, but not the volume. Gmail was like catnip back when it came out... everybody wanted one. Google Maps was the shit. Then Google Talk was pretty cool, and a lot of people started to switch just because it was easy. Docs came out and some people used it, while a pretty large portion of the web ignored it entirely. Android came out and nobody really cared because ooh shiny new iPhone. Now Wave and Voice are coming out, and a select few are raving about them, while the rest of us are left scratching our heads. Every release has had someone wildly convinced that this will change EVERYthing, and every successive release has had more and more people who just Don't Get It.

    Call me crazy, but it seems that to make an industry-changing product you need to solve a problem that people already know they have. Email access from anywhere pre-Gmail was a nightmare. Online maps sucked really bad until they pointed some competent Javascript at them. What problem does Wave solve? "Man, I really wish I could live-blog interactively with ten friends, while simultaneously editing a photo journal of our last bar night?" I don't buy it. The idea that computers will sit in between you and human interaction and make everything about your life better in the process, well, that idea is dying fast. The new tech is the kind that augments your life as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, then gets the hell out of your way. And Wave does not seem designed to get out of the way.
  • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LKM (227954) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:59AM (#28792381) Homepage
    So what? That's what we've been doing regularly in since the Apple ][. We're trading efficiency for abstraction.
  • by LKM (227954) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:05AM (#28792411) Homepage

    "My underlying point is that Moore's law won't help this because Moore's law assumes we're moving in a single direction: forward."

    Which is obviously not true, hence Intel's new ads: "Twice as slow as our last processor!"

    Look, it's always been that way: Hardware got faster, software got slower. It'll always be that way. It has to be that way, without adding abstractions we couldn't build today's complex software as easily.

    Even when we have short-term changes in that (netbooks made processors slower), it's only temporary. My 300$ netbook isn't fast, but it's still faster than my notebook from two generations ago.

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:16AM (#28792493) Homepage

    "SMTP is in beta?"

    who cares it's a crap protocol written by a psych major that was barely appropriate for the glass crt 24x80 world and had to be extended bizarrely to do anything useful and took 20 years to get a decent daemon on certain platforms.

    maybe wave isn't the end all be all, maybe it's the multics that causes unix to be born or maybe wave will be the shizzle.

    the sooner i can break away from this spam infested, made worse by anti-spam (oh look the worst of both worlds) nightmare of 1976 technology, the better.

  • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by biovoid (785377) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @04:06AM (#28792705)

    I can run MS excel with 20 megs of ram. Google spreedsheet in firefox takes over 100 megs of ram.

    And how much RAM does your OS take up? You know, the OS that looks after all of the GUI controls (buttons, windows, scrollbars etc) that Excel uses? And by saying that, I'm probably not even scraping the surface of the number of resources built into Windows that Excel uses and relies on.

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